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Mike Woodson let go as coach of Atlanta Hawks

May 14, 2010, 12:21 PM EST

Thumbnail image for woodson.jpgThis is not a shock, it’s not a bad decision. It was even expected in most quarters. A few will cheer (like the half dozen Hawks fans who hang to the end of those blowout games at home). But there should be some sadness, too.

Mike Woodson has been let go as the head coach of the Atlanta Hawks after six seasons. His contract was to expire on Monday, the Hawks have informed him they will not renew the deal. NBA.com’s Sekou Smith broke the story.

The last of those seasons included the best regular season record in many years — 53 wins and a third seed in the East. However it ended with a historic flame out against the Orlando Magic in the second round of the playoffs, one where the limits of Woodson’s isolation-heavy offense were exposed.

The feeling has been that Woodson helped grow the team, that people liked him, but he has taken this squad as far as he could. That the regular season improvement masked more serious problems.

The Hawks are going to have a big summer of changes — leading scorer Joe Johnson is a free agent and may leave. The team also will certainly be looking for a point guard to replace the aging Mike Bibby.

They will likely seek a coach who can improve the defense and pick up the tempo for a Hawks team that was fierce in transition but played a lot in the halfcourt. Former Toronto coach Sam Mitchell’s name is already being rumored as a replacement.

Woodson certainly will have some interest from other teams — there are a lot of teams looking for coaches that would love to have the problems of only reaching the conference semi-finals two years in a row.

  1. Cornell Davis - May 14, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    This is not right. He got then further than anyone expected. This team has some good talent and their just need a few more pieces. The coach is not the problem, it is the GM.

  2. Cracker - May 14, 2010 at 4:23 PM

    Wrong Cornell. Rick Sund just got here and Woodson peaked last year. None of the players really respect him and his prickly attitude soured fans.
    Now if only we can find a sucker to take Marvin off our hands…

  3. JP from EP - May 14, 2010 at 5:59 PM

    We may find that Marvin will be a much better player in a new system. He is talented, but seemed a little lost this year. Interestingly, when Joe is out he tends to be much more aggressive and can clearly contribute. Woodson is a good guy, and am sorry to see him go, but I agree that the players are no longer responding to him, AND they need some more pieces, especially at point guard. They also need a real center, move Horford to PF, move Josh Smith to small forward, and let Marvin come off the bench. JJ does too much, and is, in essence, both the point guard and shooting guard on this Hawks team. I hope he doesn’t leave, but it is too early to know. He will be hard to replace.

  4. sexxiblack - May 14, 2010 at 10:35 PM

    Cornell,
    I know you think it wasn’t right that Coach Woodson was fired but too me, it was the best decision. I understand the accomplishments that he has made but it’s what you do at the most critical moments and that is where he fail. My opinion is that he wanted to be more of a friend instead of a coach. I am a coach myself with over 15 years experience in tennis, basketball, and track and never did I loose the love of my players while enforcing discipline which the team lacked. Case in point, why during a playoff game your players loose focus, interest, energy, and determination. This is the work of the coach. Why also during a playoff game, up double digits, your team looses. Here again, it is the coaches responsibilities to lead. I am not knocking what you’ve said but just giving you another look from a different spectrum.

  5. CALI Hawks Fan - May 15, 2010 at 10:01 PM

    I agree with the above comments, not renewing Coach Woodson’s contract is probably best for the team/organization. He had a group of very talented athletes(although we do need a center)which he was unable to lead, organize and prepare for challenges. Yes, he has been improving the regular season record every year but, with the talent he has it should be expected. The team lacks direction and only a good leader can provide that. The playoffs were a complete embarssment. They played like they did not want to be there. Josh still has a great deal of growing up to do. His mid-range shot is horrible but he continues to shoot. He walks down the floor as opposed to running. His basketball IQ really needs to improve. Marvin is one of the most talented players on the team but, he fails to play up to his potential, this I believe is due to how Coach Woodson has defined his role. The Hawks need a leader on, and off the court and this year I did not see it.

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